It’s been an exciting summer for Dr. Stacey Wood, Ph.D. and the team at the Neuropsychology of Decision-Making Laboratory. We are delighted to share a recap of some of  the notable coverage on elder fraud over the past few months.

Dr. Stacey Wood, Ph.D. is a Licensed Clinical Neuropsychologist specializing in geropsychology, the practice of helping older people maintain a good quality of life, and Molly Mason Jones Professor of Psychology at Scripps College in Claremont, California. She received a bachelor’s in Bio-Psychology from Middlebury College, a Ph.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology from the University of Houston and completed post-doctoral training at UCLA. Additionally, Dr. Woods has provided expert analysis on over 200 court cases nationwide and her work includes peer-reviewed articles and book contributions, making her an authority on elder abuse.

Recently, Psychology Today, one of the premier publications covering psychology-related issues in the United States, has chosen Dr. Woods to be a featured regular blogger in a new series called: The Fraud Crisis. She has written the articles Deconstructing a Scam, On the Hook: Scam Victims Have Even More to Lose, and Why We Still Have Sweepstakes Scams for Psychology Today and reports on the fraud crisis involving the elderly.

Dr. Stacey Wood’s experiments and research on elder fraud have quickly become a cornerstone in the geropsychology community. In an article by Julia Schoen, Eden Ruiz-Lopez, and Lori Mars for Aging Today, a bi-monthly newspaper by The American Society on Aging, Dr. Wood’s research is included as “…estimates of financial exploitation of older adults run as high as 20 percent and financial losses approximate $2.9 billion in the United States, according to Wood’s and Lichtenberg’s 2017 study.” She goes on to note, “Older adults with medical, cognitive, and functional deficits are targeted disproportionately for pecuniary gain.”

The Conversation is an independent, non-profit online publication that began in 2011 and aims to openly distribute information with integrity and for the public good. They recently invited Dr. Stacey Wood to contribute to their site with an article on elder financial fraud, entitled Why We Still Have Sweepstakes Scams. In the post, Dr. Wood points out that we are constantly receiving junk mail or spam and goes on to say her and her colleagues’ research discovered “The Better Business Bureau reported approximately 500,000 complaints related to just sweepstake and lottery scams over the past three years, with losses of almost US$350 million.”

So, she set out to find out why by conducting an experiment where twenty-five scams were replicated on 211 willing participants. Dr. Wood found that 48% of them were willing to call the number on any letter they received with the promise of winnings because the letter was viewed as potentially beneficial. In the article, she offers tips on how to avoid scams and tells The Conversation who is most susceptible to scams.

In other exciting news, Dr. Stacey Wood will be a guest on the radio program The Lisa Valentine Clark Show, which aims to improve self, family, and community. An authority on elder family fraud and elder investment fraud, Dr. Wood will be offering tips on preventing scams, sharing her research and work, and answering questions. However, the focus of the interview will be her new article, Deconstructing a Scam for Psychology Today. In it, she uses her experiment where she replicated twenty-five scams on 211 participants to see who was most vulnerable to them and what types people were most likely to fall for. Also, she will discuss how “Scammers use tactics such as sunk costs (in for a penny, in for a pound), regret, and the meeting of psychological needs to keep individuals on the hook.”

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